The George Mason High School boys soccer team defeated Madison County Tuesday in the Bull Run District Semifinal, shutting out the Moutaineers 5-0.
“It always feels great and is one of our team goals to get a shutout,” Mason coach Frank Spinello said. “Our team takes great pride in the way we defend.” Defending the goal for the Mustangs were goalkeepers Tyler Back and Sebastian Umerez.
With the win, the Mustangs advance to play Manassas Park in the district final Thursday at home at 7 p.m. The Mason split the season series with Manassas Park this season, both one-goal games. Spinello said he sees Mason and Manassas as the top-two teams in the state, and anticipates playing them a few more times as the post-season rolls on.
“But we like our chances against any opponent every time we step onto the field. Most of our players have played in big games before and know what it takes to win tough games, so hopefully that can give us a slight edge,” Spinello said.”If we defend well as a team, stay patient and pressure the ball, I like our chances against anyone.”
The team is gunning for their third consecutive state title this year. The Region B finals start next Monday, followed by state finals, which begin June 7.
Last Thursday, the team celebrated a senior night win against Rappahannock Count, 4-1. Mason seniors honored that evening were Back, Erik Carlson, Jordan Robarge, Patrick Rollo, Harris Schaffer and Dane Warner.
Scoring the four goals that earned Mason the win that evening were Adam Witzel with two (one with an assist from Paul Darmstadter); and one apiece for Paul Darmstadter (with an assist from Cole Hinson) and Joe Reich (with an assist from Eion Oosterbaan).
Spinello praised the twice-scoring Witzel, a recently promoted player from the junior varsity team along with Rhys Howell.
“Adam has scored three goals in his three varsity matches. I was very pleased with the immediate contributions that Adam (and Rhys Howell) have made since being promoted,” Spinello said. “We kind of threw them straight into the fire and they have responded way beyond expectations.”
Umerez made three saves.
The game was Schaffer’s first back on the field since suffering a concussion, and he returned for a strong performance.
“Harris Schaffer put on a clinic on how to play the outside midfield/wing position,” Spinello said. The coach also praised the efforts of Paul Darmstadter and Oosterbaan in the midfield that game.
The Mustangs ended regular season with a record of 11 wins and four losses, with an additional win and a tie during scrimmage play.